FREDERICTON -- New Brunswick is extending ferry service to Campobello Island until Feb. 7 to address residents' concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents of the island -- which is connected by a bridge to the state of Maine -- want a year-round ferry service so they don't have to enter the United States in order to reach the New Brunswick mainland.

The state of Maine has seen a dramatic spike in COVID cases in recent weeks and had 16,291 active infections as of Friday.

The seasonal ferry service, which transports people from Campobello Island, N.B., to nearby Deer Island, N.B., had already been extended in September and service was due to end on Sunday.

Transportation Minister Jill Green said Friday the service will continue to be offered four days a week, depending on the weather.

She said in an email that discussions have taken place with the federal government, but at this point, no permanent solution is being considered.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2021.